Lena Dunham Launches Book Imprint, the Foreign Ministry’s Poetry Collective, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

How do Russian diplomats in the Foreign Ministry blow off steam? The Washington Post reports on the ministry’s poetry collective, which has published seven anthologies of poetry written by its staff since 2001.

Meanwhile, children’s author Kwame Alexander discusses his new novel-in-verse, Booked, and how teaching poetry to children is a “surefire way” to instill excitement and engagement with language and reading. (NPR)

Actress and writer Lena Dunham and Girls producer Jenni Konner have expanded their online feminist newsletter, Lenny, into a publishing venture. An imprint of Random House, Lenny will publish new books of fiction and nonfiction that, according to Dunham, “will aspire to push the ball forward on the issues that matter to our audience, with wit and style.” (BuzzFeed)

Famed journalist Gay Talese sparked controversy at a Boston University journalism conference over the weekend, when he stated that he could not name a single woman journalist who inspired him. Following Talese’s comment, authors including Neil Gaiman, Jodi Picoult, and John Scalzi responded on social media by listing women writers who have inspired them. (Entertainment Weekly)

On Monday, Tennessee lawmakers approved a bill to make the Bible the official state book. The bill’s sponsor, Republican state senator Steve Southerland, believes the constitutional separation of church and state should not be an issue because, “the Bible is a history book.” (Los Angeles Times)

At the New York Times, Lin Manuel Miranda, the star and creator of the musical Hamilton, shares his favorite books and expresses his awe of novelists. “To engender empathy and create a world using only words is the closest thing we have to magic.”

The Amazon-owned social reading website Goodreads, which launched nine years ago, now has more than fifty million user-generated book reviews. The site has published an infographic examining its most reviewed, most controversial, and most liked books over the years. (GalleyCat)